Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S., and West Virginia’s rates of children who vape and adults who use tobacco are some of the highest in the country. It will take a ground-up,community-based approach to educate and compel state and local leadership to prioritize tobacco control as public health policy.
The “Teaming Up Against Tobacco: Building a Community-Based Collaborative Approach” Project aims to assess and address what tobacco prevention and cessation programming and resources are available in Cabell, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Mason counties, where there are gaps in services and resources, and what opportunities are available for collaboration and expansion. After an assessment period, the data will be compiled, analyzed, and shared with community stakeholders and policymakers before the 2024 West Virginia Legislative Session.
The Project Team
Stella Gill is Think Kids’ Executive Support Specialist and serves as the Project Director. She plans, coordinates, and oversees partners to ensure we’re asking the right questions, engaging the right stakeholders, and working collaboratively to meet project goals.
Cabell-Huntington Health Department (CHHD) is partnering with Think Kids on this project. Teresa Mills, Prevention Coordinator for CHHD, has over 25 years of experience in tobacco control work. Her insight and expertise will help us assess the landscape across the four-county area and dig deep into the challenges and complexities of assessing the tobacco control-related needs of these communities.
Diana Davidson is a second-year Masters of Public Health student at West Virginia University. She was recently a summer intern at Truth Initiative in Washington, DC where she worked with the Schroeder Institute working on various topics within tobacco policy and research. An accomplishment from her time at Truth was being a second author on an industry watch piece that is currently in review for publication. For this project, Diana helps create assessment tools, disseminates them to stakeholders, and helps analyze responses.
Kelli Caseman is Think Kids’ Executive Director and assists in drafting survey/interview tools and analyzing responses. She will write the project’s final report, which will be available for policymakers in early 2024. She also updates the webpage and social media accounts.
August: We’ll launch the assessment process, including identifying and recruiting stakeholders, conducting phone/Zoom interviews, and assessing tobacco cessation and prevention services in the four-county area.
September-November: We will continue the assessment component of the project, i.e., surveying, interviewing, and researching programs/services. CHHD will help identify stakeholders for inclusion and will help conduct phone interviews with more seasoned leadership in this field.
December: We will wrap up the assessment with team meetings, discussing the surveying/interview results and possible recommendations for identifying and addressing service gaps.
January 2024: We will finalize charts/graphs/results and submit them to Think Kids to be included in the final assessment report, which we’ll have ready for the 2024 legislative session.